Are you dreaming of starting your own business as an Overseas Filipino Worker? Yes, working in other countries can benefit you a lot financially, but it might not last a long time. After years of working abroad, you may also want to spend more time with your family, right? One of the best ways to do is to have your own clothing line. But the big question is: how can you start one? Don’t worry, this is a complete step-by-step on how to start a clothing line for yourself.
How To Start a Clothing Line
Putting The Business in Order
1. Create a Solid and Clear Business Plan. The first step on how to start a clothing line is is the business plan. Your business needs to lay out what you intend to do with your clothing line. You need to be as realistic as possible when you write your business plan. It is better to underestimate your profits and be pleasantly surprised rather than overestimating your abilities and be disappointed after.
There are important aspects of your business plan that includes:
- Executive Summary or the description of your company’s mission statement and future plans to lure in your potential investors. This is necessary especially for a clothing line that requires outside funding.
- Company description to give people an idea on what your clothing line is about and what makes it different from your competitors.
2. Put Your Company’s Projected Financials On Top Priority. Your funding is your company’s lifeblood. Even if you don’t have the outside funding yet, you need to get your financial ship in order to master the basics.
You need to know how much money you need to launch your clothing line if you have the money saved up for this or you need to get a loan.
You also need to make a list of all your anticipated costs, including marketing, supplies, manufacturing, advertisement, equipment, overheads, etc. How much would it cost to run your business for a year? Will the revenue offset the costs?
3. Do A Research. You need to know who are your current and future competitions. Who is your target market and how much do you think you can sell your designs for a retail or wholesale level.
Ask around and get feedback. You may also talk to other store owners and potential customers.
4. Fix All Your Legal Obligations. You need to decide on your business structure. Are you a sole proprietor, a partnership or a corporation? Register your business name at the Department of Trade and Industry, secure a barangay certificate and a business permit and then go to the Bureau of Internal Revenue to get your certificate of registration and authority to print receipts.
If you have more than five employees, you also need to go to the Social Security System, Philhealth, PAG-IBIG, DOLE, and other concerning government agencies. You may also want to consider getting a lawyer to be your consultant and be available on retainer in case you need his or her service.
1. Think If You Need Employees. Do you need to hire help to work on your clothing line? Consider what kind of assistance you need, the hours you’ll require every week, and how much you need to pay.
If you are production is at a boutique level, you can start doing all the cutting, stitching, and hemming. However, once you start getting bigger, you need to hire production help. If you are looking for a retail location, you may need manpower to assist you.
2. Build Your Brand. How you set up your brand will defend what people associate with your clothing line.
- When choosing a name, choose wisely. You may use your own name, like Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren or Calvin Klein. You may also use a word you made yourself or a word from another language. Whatever you pick, you need to make sure that it is recognizable and unique.
- Your company name and brand name should be different. Your company name can be your initials or variation of your name while for the name of your collection or the clothing line, you can use something more creative or representation of the style you are going for. Also, check to make sure that the name you pick has an available domain name and look into registering for a trademark.
3. Design Your Own Logo. Brainstorm different logos and narrow it down to one. Make sure you are completely sure about the one you choose since you’ll be using it when building your brand. People are going to recognize you by your logo and it may confuse a lot of your future patrons if you keep on changing it.
Making The Products
1. Design the Clothes. For many people, this is the fun part — but it only makes 10 to 15 percent of the whole process. Make the sketches, get feedback, and decide which ones will make your first collection. Pick out the fabrics to use as well as the materials but make sure they are cost-effective.
If you are designing a shirt line, get the following information from your printer: the size specifications of the design or how big it can be, the type of shirt you want to print on, and the quality of the fabric.
2. Design Your Collection According to Season. Collections are usually designed by season. Most department stores buy at least two seasons in advance while smaller shops buy one to two seasons ahead. You need to time in your production, design, and delivery accordingly.
3. Find your Manufacturers. Do a search on Google for clothing manufacturers. A lot of people use garment manufacturers overseas since the costs are lower. However, keep in mind that most overseas manufacturers only do large quantities so make sure to ask the minimums before proceeding.
Ask around and get the turnaround times as well as how fast you can get the samples sent to you.
4. Produce the Designs. Bring your sketches to the seamstress, the manufacturer or the screen printer. Most of the time, a prototype or a sample is created so you can be sure that the clothing is going to be produced the way you want it to be. Before they produce in bulk, make sure to ask a lot of questions and get everything in writing.
Marketing Your Clothing Line
1. Create a Website. Creating your own website is a good way to promote your clothing line. Make sure that it looks professional and presents your line in the best light. Provide your contact information, in case other merchants or stores want to get in touch with you.
If you want customers to buy your products from your website, you need to set up a shopping cart and merchant account that can accept credit card payments.
2. Establish Relationships With Blogs and Websites to Bring Attention to your Brand. You may sell your clothes at auction sites and other websites that allow clothing sales. Relationships drive sales, whether it is a helpful quid-pro-quo or word of mouth.
3. Promote Your Business. This may cost thousands in just a year but it’s good when advertising your business. Here are the things you can do to promote your brand:
- Write a press release and send it to local newspapers, magazines, and blog owners.
- Purchase ads in papers and websites where your target audience can read.
- Sponsor events that cater to your target audience.
- Get a celebrity endorsement.
- Use social media to spread the word.
4. Be Your Own Walking Billboard. Wear your own products and ask people for their opinions and record them. This will help you in designing a product that many people will like. Take every suggestion that people have to offer: it’s like having your own marketing and design time minus the cost.
5. Take Orders. Sell in markets, festivals, auctions, and to everyone that you know. You may also get appointments with your local stores and convince them to carry your line. Offer your clothing on the internet. You may also print a catalog and mail it to your clothing stores and potential customers.
Did you learn a lot from our step-by-step how to start a clothing line for yourself? You can also apply this on other merchandises too.